Senate committee to examine Microsoft settlement

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing Wednesday morning that examines the U.S. government's proposed settlement in its landmark antitrust case against Microsoft Corp.

The hearing, entitled "The Microsoft Settlement: A Look to the Future, " features three panels of experts, including government antitrust officials, Microsoft rivals such as Red Hat Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew J. Szulik, and vaunted Stanford Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig, who has publicly criticized Microsoft in the past and had been appointed a "special master" in a related government antitrust case against the company, but was removed when an appeals court ruled the case didn't warrant such an appointment.

The Senate committee is expected to hear arguments both for and against the settlement, with projections on its potential impact on the PC operating systems market and the industry in general. The hearing is scheduled to being at 10 a.m. ET, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and nine of the 18 states involved in the antitrust case reached a settlement agreement last month, which, if approved, would wrap up years of legal wrangling.

The proposal has come under heavy scrutiny, however, especially from Microsoft foes who believe that the deal does little to curb the software giant's grip on the PC operating systems' market. The proposed settlement is still pending approval in the U.S. District Court.

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